View Full Version : Iris painting Needs Background Help !!!!

Strawberry Wine
11-30-2007, 12:20 PM
Hi Everyone,

I have been working on this Iris for the last week or so... and I am getting stressed over the background... Not sure where to go with it??????

Iknow, I should really plan the background first.. but I didn't.... :( I had an idea where I wanted to go with it but now am not too sure... The leaves still need more work but wanted your input on the the whole painting as well as the background before I proceed.

10 x 14 on Arches 140 rough. artist grade paints.

I really want to finish this by Monday so it can be framed for a Christmas gift if it turns out well.

Many Thanks and Cheers,



11-30-2007, 01:56 PM
I have been studying American artists and there was a trend of an ethereal look in the BG of alot of the florals, I know you've seen it I probably am not describing it well. I found some from Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904)ie. I find Winsor Blue mixed with sienna or cad yellow, and maybe a dab of cad red give this appearance. I am definitely stuck on Winsor blue, I just love the mixes one gets from it. I think you need to go into you BG darker.

11-30-2007, 02:44 PM
This is beautiful and nearly finished, Gail... Leave the sky alone. You need a few DARKS in amongst the leaves to help ground them... and a little more variation in your greens... that's IT... (((I'm proud of you.)))

{Edit}... suggestion... do a greyscale of your painting... You'll see that you have some gorgeous and juicey darks in the middle of the composition... You need to get THOSE values down amongst the leaves...

11-30-2007, 03:13 PM
WOW Gail, this is quite WONDERFUL!!!! Not fair - we (Char and I) are good at flowers and you are good at landscapes, you are not supposed to be good with flowers too:evil: :lol: :lol: :lol:

If it was me I would put the painting into Photoshop and try different things. I quite like it the way it is!!!!

11-30-2007, 03:33 PM
:wave: HI! Gail, I really like this background, very atmospheric and subtle. Your iris really stand out. Finish what you are working on then take a look, it'll be beautiful. Regards, Marianne

Laura D
11-30-2007, 04:20 PM
Oh my! These are beautiful!!! The proportions are spot on, the composition is excellent, the colors and values too. You have just the right amount of detail in the flowers too.

The only thing I can think of to suggest is a hint of a different color in the grey area... it is really close to the color of the blossoms. A light wash would let the irises stand out more. I would keep it on the cool side since that iris is so warm. I do agree that you should keep it light and that finishing the leaves will make a big difference.

Can't wait for the next installment!

11-30-2007, 04:23 PM
I love the buds in all the different stages of opening!

Strawberry Wine
11-30-2007, 04:26 PM
Thanks for all your feedback, Washers! I was sitting and worrying and fretting all morning and then decided to post here.. If I had done that sooner, I could have saved myself some grief. :)

Marianne, thanks, I am back to working on the leaves for now.

Char, thank you, I will grey scale it and go from there.

Uschi, thank you, I am getting better with florals because you and Char have been trying to drill the concepts into my petal and leaf challenged brain. I think it is finally sinking in... :D

RTI, Thank you for your feedback!!! I am going to google Martin Johnson Heade... I love Winsor Blue too.

Back to the greens for now.



EDIT: Cross posted with you Lorraine and Laura.

Lorraine, The buds were my most favourite part to paint.

Laura, thanks for your input... I am going to finish the leaves and then re post.

11-30-2007, 04:31 PM
Gorgeous, just Gorgeous Gail!! It looks like you already have some sort of BG already? I like it as it is, maybe a hint of a yellow in the BG?

11-30-2007, 06:29 PM
Hi Gail,

I like it mostly as is, too. The only suggestion I might make is to deepen the yellow tone in the background between the purple petals (soften the edges of it so it becomes "lost" in the rest of the background). This will create an eye-magnet and some mild complementary resonance, without destroying the overall mood. Hope this helps some


Peggy SCx
12-01-2007, 09:11 PM
Wonderful feel for the irises. Part of me wants to echo strengthening the gold area in the background just a degree. The other part of me says don't fuss too much more, it's in harmony.

Laura D
12-02-2007, 07:02 AM
Can't wait to see your next post Gail. It is such a treat to watch you work.

12-02-2007, 07:08 AM
Ditto to what Char said about adding darks in your leaves. They are pretty much all the same value.

There is a strong sense of light on the left side of the painting so the right side (including the background?) would be darker than medium, I think.


12-02-2007, 07:17 AM
Hi Gail, What I see is that the flowers, leaves, and background are pretty much all the same value. I think you must decide which element you want the painting to say "look at me" and make it stand out. As mentioned before, Photoshop or some other painting program will help decide. Also placing a sheet of mylar over the painting and putting in values also helps. Again the old standby - light against dark. Nice painting. JanP.

12-02-2007, 08:25 AM
Gail your painting is absolutely gorgeous..

How are you going with it now?

Hugs JJ